Book Review: Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1) by Alice Hoffman

Name:  Practical Magic
Alice Hoffman
Number of Pages: 
290 (Kindle)
October 19th 2017 by Scribner UK (first published July 1st 1995)
Genre: Fantasy, Magical Realism


For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.
One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic…

My Rating:


My Thoughts:

Practical Magic is a story of family – aunts, siblings, daughters.
The Owens sisters, Sally and Gillian are completely different in every way, yet they’re both destined to feel the influence of being part of a family that, generations back, were apparently known as witches.
In childhood this leads them to be outsiders as there are whispers of witchcraft and some slightly strange events lead their peers to keep their distance.
As adults, Sally and Gillian choose very different paths, and the two grow apart until something happens that brings Gillian back to her sister, seeking help.

I enjoyed reading this, although I went into it thinking there would be more magic than there was. This is really a tale of two women, their lives, their families, and their relationships, both romantic and familial.
I liked that they were total contrasts to each other, yet their bond remained strong even after so much time apart, and that when it really mattered they were still there for each other.
Gillian’s return brings a certain amount of chaos into Sally’s otherwise ordered life, and she accepts it even though she’s tried so hard to provide a regular upbringing for her own daughters.

I’m looking forward to reading the next in this series as I think it is the story of the aunts who featured briefly in this tale. I liked both of these characters and would have liked more of them here, so a whole book devoted to their story is something I’m looking forward to. I’ve had this series on my ’to read’ list for a long time so I’m glad I’ve finally started it and am looking forward to reading the next book.


10 thoughts on “Book Review: Practical Magic (Practical Magic #1) by Alice Hoffman

  1. Calmgrove says:

    There’s an Alic Hoffman quote – “Books may well be the only true magic” – which I see all over the internet, so I suppose it’s a natural development that she writes a book called ‘Practical Magic’! But if this is part of a series I suppose the quote might be from an earlier title?


    • pagesandtea says:

      That quote reminds me of a similarly worded one by Stephen King. They’re both nice quotes. I wonder if the Hoffman one is from a book in this series? I don’t think it’s in this one as I’d probably have remembered it. Perhaps I’ll come across it as I go through the series.

      Liked by 1 person

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